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Kerala HC: Restore normalcy at the hill shrine soon as possible

KC Gopakumar Kochi | Updated on November 23, 2018 Published on November 23, 2018

A petition alleges TDB of reimbursing expenses for police deployment

The Kerala High Court on Friday orally directed the state government to restore normalcy at Sabarimala as early as possible.

A Bench headed by Justice PR Ramachandra Menon also warned those who were protesting the Supreme Court verdict, allowing women in the age group of 10-50 access to the shrine, not to take law into their hands.

The court directed the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) not to divert its funds to the State government for making police bandhobast at Sabarimala without its permission.

The directive was given when a petition by a devotee alleging that the TDB was trying to reimburse the expenses for the police deployment at Sabarimala.

Meanwhile, a division Bench headed by Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy directed the TDB to inform the court about the infrastructure facilities put in place as well as the safety measures taken for the visit of women in the restricted age group.

Bench’s directive

The Bench asked the TDB to file a statement in this regard within seven days. The Bench gave the directive when a public interest ligation filed by Reshama Nishanth of Kannur and other three young women seeking a directive to the government and the TDB to provide adequate facilities for women to facilitate smooth pilgrimage.

During the hearing, the State Attorney representing the government suggested that two days could be set apart exclusively for the visit of women pilgrims of the restricted age group.

The petitioner said that they would like to undertake pilgrimage to Sabriamala. However, they could not make it because of the ongoing protests against entry of young women.

Besides, no adequate facilities had been put in place at Sabarimala for the women pilgrims.

The petitioners had registered their names online for the pilgrimage.

Meanwhile, the government in an affidavit submitted before the court said that the order passed under section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code at Sabarimala prohibited only marches, unlawful assemblies and group prayers in the form of protests.

The order was not applicable to devotees coming to the Sabarimala temple for darshan, even if they come in groups. Nor the order banned chanting of Sarana mantras by devotees, either individually or in groups.

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Published on November 23, 2018
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